Retailing is a sector that currently generates 2% of employment at the state level. It is also an engine of social transformation, which is constantly evolving to adapt to new
consumers. However, as the Acting Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism has said, the sector “faces major challenges, especially in terms of new technologies and digitalisation”, two elements that are changing consumer habits around the world.
Eduardo Ceballos, president of the Spanish Association of Parks and Shopping Centres, agreed with the minister’s analysis. “We face great challenges. The support of the administrations is fundamental, so we will continue to need their help. For example, to compete on equal terms with e-commerce,” he said during the opening day of the XVII Spanish Congress of Shopping Centres and Parks.
Justo Martín, president of the Congress, has said that trade “is an engine for the development of cities” and that “it lays the foundations for the growth of other economic areas”. “We are facing the IV industrial revolution, if we remain at the forefront, we will be ahead of the process,” he said. Almudena Maíllo, councillor and head of the Delegate Area of Tourism, has participated in the forum to highlight the importance of trade, especially for the Community of Madrid, where this sector, he said, “is a vital ally, as they make the capital a great shopping destination, the second, just behind London.
The retail of the future
The future is to talk about innovation and technology. Mediamarkt knows a lot about this. Antonio Arribas, Head of Mediamarkt Services Pro, has pointed out that his way of adapting to the new times has been offering services. “You have to accompany the client in the use of technology. Mediamarkt realized that it is necessary to accompany the client in all the use of technology. Currently, one out of every three customers who come to our stores does it for services: looking for a screen saver, explanation of how devices work, doubts about connectivity, and so on. This is where we find the highest profitability right now. If we only sold technology, we wouldn’t give results to our shareholders.
AliExpress Operations Director Eduardo Pisa also attended. The company he represents is a clear example of omnicanality: the Chinese e-commerce giant opened a store last August in the intu Xanadú shopping centre.
Pisa has said that this opening piloted on several axes. One of them is the consumer, which for them is the most important thing, because they wanted to offer the possibility of touching the products and break the barriers with the digital channel. “We wanted to have a door in Spain to move what we are doing in China and turn the store into a multi-channel environment. In China we have the experience of having developed a hypermarket where clients arrive, scan the product and there they can see its origin, properties, etc. This enriches the user’s shopping experience. To this is added the logistical component. We are allowing customers who go to this type of supermarket to have their purchase delivered to them in less than 30 minutes at a ratio of 3 km around. The value of the properties, after this, is being revalued,” he said.
The AliExpres store in Intu Xanadú is not equipped with this technology, but it will be the laboratory where the firm will be doing different tests. Finally, its third axis has been to help brands “both Spanish that are in recent creation as Chinese marches that want to enter the European market.